Columbia Queer Alliance sells out for Anti-Semitism
MORGAN RAUM AND ASSAF WEISS
Mon Apr 17 2017
Since its establishment in 1948, the modern State of Israel has been increasingly more legally supportive and socially tolerant of LGBTQ rights than any other country in the Middle East. In the legal realm there are still obstacles; for example, the Israeli government does not yet perform same-sex marriages, but Israel is also the only country in the Middle East to legally recognize those performed outside the State. LGBTQ couples receive the same property tax benefits, inheritance, pension, and housing aid as cisgender, heterosexual couples. Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation was prohibited by law in Israel in 1992. As such, LGBTQ citizens serve as IDF officers and soldiers, Knesset members, judges, and world diplomats.
Regarding social tolerance, in 2016 an Israeli NGO held the country’s first transgender beauty pageant, and in 2015 the annual pride parade was dedicated to transgender individuals. Israel is famous for Hilton Beach, an unofficial gay beach in Tel Aviv. Out Magazine and LGBTQ travelers have referred to Tel Aviv as the gay capital of the Middle East and the most gay-friendly city in the world. Furthermore, countless gay Palestinians have fled their homes and settled in the increasingly tolerant Tel Aviv in fear of homophobic violence, discrimination, and even execution—a result of criminalized homosexuality and extremist religious attitudes outside of Israel.
Thus, it makes sense that those who support LGBTQ rights should fully acknowledge and commend the State of Israel as a champion of these liberties. That’s why it comes as such a shock that the Columbia Queer Alliance regularly and disproportionately singles out Israel in regard to this struggle. CQA frequently organizes or promotes events that accuse Israel of “pinkwashing”—the embracing of LGBTQ rights only to “distract from its systematic human rights abuses against Palestinians”—including “Pinkwashing 101” and Students for Justice in Palestine’s event, “Good Gay/Bad Gay,” which framed Israel as having an “imperialist LGBT agenda.” Accusing Israel of engaging in such a backhanded practice is unwarranted and discriminatory, mostly because this indictment is not made against other countries....